Managed Responsive Design Helps SMBs Target Mobile Consumers

Mobile devices continue proliferating, and mobile device users are highly desirable consumers.

August 10, 2012

3 Min Read
Managed Responsive Design Helps SMBs Target Mobile Consumers

By Dan Berthiaume

apple iPad tablet

Mobile devices continue proliferating, and mobile device users are highly desirable consumers. According to recent comScore data, almost 40 percent of tablet owners and 33 percent of smartphone owners earn $100,000 or more annually, and more than 50 percent of owners of both mobile devices earn more than $75,000 annually. Yet even for large enterprises, developing multiple website versions that provide an optimal experience for users of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices can be a time-consuming experience that makes effective site analytics and SEO performance difficult.

For SMBs, the problem can become overwhelming. But a web design concept called responsive design offers the opportunity for SMBs to develop one single site with one codebase, content database and URL that can provide an optimal experience for any and all mobile device users.

Responsive Design – What and Why
As detailed in a posting on the Google Mobile Ads blog, responsive design allows developers to employ fluid grids and flexible images to create websites that will automatically adjust to any screen size, regardless of form factor. And the reliance on a single codebase and content database makes responsive design sites much easier to update and analyze, while the use of one URL boosts the SEO performance of content. All the while, websites become much more appealing to those all-important mobile consumers.

Responsive Design – How (with MSP Help)
Like most things that offer a lot of promise, responsive design is not quick, easy or cheap to enact. The upfront costs of developing a site using responsive design techniques and technologies can be far greater than those of developing conventional multiple sites, and developers with unique skillsets need to work in an agile team environment.

Even for large enterprises, the cost and technical skills required to effectively perform responsive design make it a difficult project to tackle in-house. For SMBs, the odds of being able to fully execute a responsive design project in-house are virtually nil.

However, MSPs that offer web design and hosting services can greatly enhance the value they provide SMB clients by delivering managed responsive design services. So far responsive design has mainly been the province of well-known major online entities, but why should they dominate the mobile Web space? One of the biggest advantages the Internet is supposed to offer is that it serves as a level playing field where ingenuity and dedication matter more than size or deep pockets.

Of course, many MSPs probably do not possess in-house responsive design capabilities either, but by using freelance designers and/or partnering with a third-party responsive design provider, an MSP can add value to existing SMB Web development relationships. Not only are mobile consumers more mobile in an upward sense, they are also mobile in terms of their rapid growth. Mobile Web access will be more common than desktop Web access in a few short years. By providing managed responsive design services now, MSPs can help themselves, as well as their SMB clients, stay competitive in this brave, new and mobile world.

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